Tamara Natalie Madden

In her words:

“My work deals with the social, spiritual and cultural identity of people of African ancestry. Jamaican people and my memories of living there, served as a catalyst for this body of work. The intent of my work is for it to function as a voice for those ‘every day‘ folk who are overlooked and shunned because of their station in life.”

“Inspired by and images of royalty of the Akan people of Ghana and other parts of West Africa; I decided to turn regular folk into nobility. Each piece of art is an allegory that represents the soul and spirit of the individual. Their regal state embodies all that is often hidden and overlooked.”

“The golden headpieces worn by most of the subjects in my paintings represent mystical crowns, halos, armor and weaponry for the spiritual warriors. The birds in my paintings are symbolic of my personal struggle with illness, and a representation of my survival and freedom from it.”

As many Black artists before her, Tamara Natalie Madden sought to create a space for regular everyday Black people to be seen and heard. In her work, we see that Black is beautiful, it is multifaceted, rich and relevant. The individuals she paints have an intrinsic beauty and their humanity is never questions, rather displayed as children of God.

Madden resided and worked in the Atlanta area and was a fine art professor at Spelman College. Two weeks after being diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, Madden died. She had one daughter.

According to Ben Kersten, "Similar to the works of Gustav Klimt, Madden clothes the goddess in a boldly patterned dress with clear ties to the arts and crafts movement and its populist underpinnings of advocating for art made by the people for the people...Additionally, Madden's use of decadent colors and gold gives her subjects a life of indulgence that they never had."

We will honor her legacy with one of monthly subscription art boxes: BlackishArt Box We will learn more about her and paint a portrait in her style.

*I do not own rights to this music*

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